Coming to a Consensus about the Future of the Wolf in the Netherlands: A Conflict Assessment

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The discussion between stakeholders about how we ought to deal with the return of wolves to the Netherlands is becoming increasingly heated. IFAW and the Hunters’ Society together initiated an assessment with the aim of uncovering whether there is still opportunity for constructive dialogue which benefits all parties. This thesis studied that assessment and answered the following questions: 1) which are the main stakeholders that should be involved in a societal dialogue on the future of the wolf, 2) what are their interests regarding the wolf, 3) if negotiations were to take place what would be the potential to reach consensus, 4) what are opportunities and challenges of using the Mutual Gains Approach for structuring such negotiations and 4a) would the interests of the wolf be adequately safeguarded at the table? In total, 35 stakeholders were identified which together represented twelve main interests that shape their positions regarding the wolf in the Netherlands. Looking at stakeholder interests and willingness to work together, it seems possible to reach consensus in case negotiations were to take place. The proposed negotiation strategy seems to be appropriate for this topic. Finally, interests of the wolf would likely not be well represented at the table. Keywords: conflict assessment, consensus building, Mutual Gains Approach, stakeholders, interests, human-wildlife conflict, wolves.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen